Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dan Haren Has Surgery and He Still Hates Fish


We sure are stretching for any bit of news about the Dodgers, eh?  Heck, even a TMZ tabloid report about Hanley Ramirez's flaming Lambo had fans yearning for more.  So, when the Dodgers revealed, via twitter, that starting pitcher Dan Haren had arthroscopic surgery this morning on his non-throwing shoulder it became BIG news.

There certainly was plenty of speculation about what this could all mean. 

Could he really be ready to go come March?  I know it's his other shoulder, but isn't there a risk that we might not have a #4 pitcher ready to go come Opening Day?

Does this assure that Haren picks up the $10Mil player option to play for the Dodgers in 2015?

Well, that last question was kinda answered by Haren in a tweet just a moment ago:

Sneaky, Danny... Sneaky... Or, shall I say fishy? 

For a second there I thought he broke some news.  Instead, we get a small glimpse into the humor of Dan Haren. 

As you likely know he ain't kidding about abstaining from seafood.  As Josh Tucker reported on Dodger Insider this past Spring Training, Dan Haren has never eaten fish.  Note a bite.

Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

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A Look Back at Former Brooklyn Dodger Ivy Olson


I was recently cruising around eBay to do some online window shopping when I came across a vintage 1930 press photo from the AP of former Brooklyn Dodger infielder turned coach Ivy Olson.  Check it out above, or check out the eBay auction here.  Since we are in the midst of a Dodger winter and it's likely most of you know nothing about Ivy, I figured I would take a moment to introduce you to him.  Heck, I can't claim to know much about him either, so this post also helps me know a little more about this former Dodger fave.

A childhood friend of Casey Stengel, Ivy Olson was average sized, average skilled and a larger than life ballplayer who both endeared himself to fans and was the cause of great consternation.  He played Baseball during a time called the 'Deadball Era' - when men treated the game (to borrow a phrase from Ty Cobb) like it's something like a war. 

(eBay Auction Link)
Ivy was hard-charging, hard-playing and took no prisoners on the field.  You would often see him in the middle of a scuffle with fist being thrown to and fro, sliding into second base with his spikes coming in high or screaming expletives like a drunken sailor out on leave.  His heart and hustle was obvious, and Brooklyn fans, seeing a little bit of themselves in the man, were immediately smitten.  Of course, this was Brooklyn, so that love often turned to jeers.  After all, Ivy Olson was just an average ballplayer with a propensity for errors at the most inopportune times.

For instance, during the 1916 World Series against the Boston Red Sox Ivy Olson placed himself in the Baseball record books for the wrong reason.  In the third inning of Game 5 (the final game of the series) Olson made two fielding errors on a single fielding chance; thereby being the first of only two players to have ever done that during a World Series game.  Hilariously, the other man to do it was also a Dodger - Willie Davis in Game 2 of the 1966 World Series.

Oy Vie!  A play like that would cause twitter to blow up in todays world.

Ivy Olson played ten season in Brooklyn; from 1915 to 1924.  He was a key component of two pennant winning Dodger teams (1916 and 1920) and currently holds the Dodger franchise single season record for at-bats per strikeout (55.1 in 1922) and is the Dodgers all-time at-bats per strikeout leader (26.8).  In 4,212 Brooklyn at-bats he struck out only 157 times.  Wow!

If you are looking for a strange tale about Ivy Olson check out the SABR biography by Brian Stevens
It is said that Olson carried a rulebook in the back pocket of his uniform in each of his 1,574 games. During an umpire's oration, he would take out the book and riffle the pages with a flourish. But he would often get the thumb before he could reach the appropriate reference to the rule in question.
You should definitely check out Brian Stevens phenomenal biography on Olson to learn even more about him.  Also, in preparing this post I ran into several other Ivy Olson press photographs on eBay and have included them here for you to see.  Links to those auctions are attached to the pics caption. 
(eBay Auction Link)

Below are Ivy Olson's career statistics, via Baseball Reference:


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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: A Couple of Ducks and Raiders

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

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The top two centerman for the Anaheim Ducks will be signing autographs this coming Saturday, October 25th from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the OC Dugout in Anaheim.  A portion of the proceeds of each autograph purchase will go to the charity CureDuchenne, a foundation that searches for a cure to muscular dystrophy.  Go here for ordering/ticket information.
The OC Dugout
1238 S. Beach Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92804
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2014 Topps Update Baseball - The Dodger Manu-Relic Cards

Today I share photo's of all the 2014 Topps Update manufactured relic Dodger cards.  I also include pics of the two Dodger Metal Framed Gold Label cards of Mike Piazza and Yasiel Puig.  Go here to find all my post related to this set.

As you may know, these cards are super thick, and with exception of the MVP patches are available only in Jumbo packs of Topps Update.  The World Series MVP patch cards are only found in retail packs sold stores like Target and Walmart.

World Series Rings Silver

#WSR-JP Johnny Podres

Blog Kiosk: 10/22/2014 - Dodger Links - Mattingly, Seager and Josh Byrnes


Here is another vintage press photo, dated in early June 1942 on the reverse, and it features Dodger skipper Leo Durocher on the dugout steps at Wrigley Field.  Although the photo has numerous dates on the reverse it is June 8th that sticks out to me.  This was the day the photograph was likely developed and printed.  The Dodgers and Cubs had just finished up a five game weekend series over three days that included two doubleheaders, and the 8th was the first free day.

I'd like to think the photo itself was taken the day before, though.  The second doubleheader between the Dodgers and Cubs played on that Sunday, and by the looks of Leo's knowing grin you figure the boys did well.  In fact, the Dodgers won both games of the doubleheader that day.  Overall, the Dodgers won four out of the five games; having split the doubleheader that past Friday.  Go here to check out the photo on eBay.

Below are some links to check out:
"I always remember Mark [Walter, chairman], Magic [Johnson, partner] and Stan [Kasten, president] in the very beginning saying they wanted to put a team together quick with a chance to win so the fans wouldn't have to wait five years while the kids on the farm matured, while at the same time, build the Minor League system to sustain the success year in and year out without bringing in a bunch of guys from somewhere else," he said.

"So it's part of what they were talking about from the very beginning. Everything they said -- upgrading the stadium, the locker rooms -- everything they said they are continuing to do and this just seems like part of it."
It probably safe to say that even though Friedman is the new kid on the block in the hierarchy of the Dodgers front office, he is (or will soon be) well schooled on Dodgers top infield prospect (and 2014 Co-Minor League Player of the Year) Corey Seager who, as we speak, is absolutely tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League – this in spite of his tender 20 years of age. Whereas Ned Colletti was always reluctant to bring kids like Seager up early regardless of how well they were doing in the minors, Andrew Friedman has a history of doing exactly that and his track record is very good in doing so.
  • Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp is less than three weeks away."
  • Via Ken Rosenthal on twitter, Josh Byrnes is getting cozy with the Stan Kasten and is expected to join front office.  Although, it appears unclear what position it will be.  It could very well be that he joins the Dodgers in some capacity other than GM.  In fact, there are several high-end executive positions open at the Dodgers; including DeJon Watson's old job as head of player development.  Considering the location of this meeting in Arizona I think this is looking like the most likely scenario. 


  • No!  Wait?  What?  It's real?  Holy Moly!  The hoverboard is coming.  Check out the video below of the Hendo Hoverboard and then go to their kickstarter campaign, here.

Video Link:

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2014 Topps Update Baseball - The Dodger Variation Base Cards

Following up on yesterday's post featuring the Dodger base cards found in packs of Topps Update, I now share pics of all the short printed base variation cards that are available.  Go here to check out a complete checklist of the set, or here for a listing of all variations that are available.  Go here to find all post related to this set.

There are four different Dodger variation cards available.  See them all below.  BTW, I show both the normal card and its short printed variation.  Also, with both 'Sparkle' cards I include additional photos showing the exact location of the 'Sparkle.'

2014 Topps Update Series Variations

#US-169 Chone Figgins - Sabermetric Variation

Short Print - Sabermetric Stats

2014 Panini Hall of Fame 75th Anniversary Baseball - The Dodger Sapphire and Autographed Cards

Turning back to Panini's Hall of Fame 75th Anniversary card set, I now share photos of the Sapphire and autographed Dodger insert cards.  Go here to check out a complete checklist of this set. 

The Sapphire card set is Panini's attempt to make valuable embedded precious metal/gem card.  Located near the bottom of the card (in the area that represents home plate) is a small (very small) gemstone.  There are three different variations available; including an Sapphire (#/15), Emerald (#/10) and a Diamond (#/1).

Certainly, this set is suppose to be the premier find in packs.  Unfortunately, they haven't sold too well on eBay.  Over the past week I've seen the Roy Campanella and Jackie Robinson gem cards (sapphire or emerald) sell from between $20.00 to $50.00 a piece.  At these kind of prices I just might have to chase them just for the heck of it.  Check out the Dodger cards below.

HOF 75th Anniversary Sapphire Card Set

#18 Jackie Robinson

Blog Kiosk: 10/21/2014 - Dodger Links - Kershaw Named Player of the Year by Baseball America


Andrew McCutchen, Joey Porter and Matt Kemp were at Heinz Field last night to enojoy some pregame banter at last night's Monday Night Football game in Pittsburgh, pic above via @steelers on twitter.  The Steelers defeated the Texans, 30 - 23, largely due to a huge offensive explosion in the second quarter of the game; they scored 24 of their 30 points then.

Below are some links to check out:
  • Continuity, baby!  Via Mark Saxon at ESPN, "Source: Scouts returning for 2015."
  • Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Davises, Strawberry to enter L.A. City Section Hall of Fame."
  • Via TMZ, "Dodgers Star Hanley Ramirez My Lambo Spits FIRE!"  Check out the TMZ article to see it breath fire.
(pic via Hanley in instagram)
TMZ Sports has learned ... Hanley dropped around $550k for a white 2014 Lamborghini Aventador -- but wanted to make it stand out ... so he went to The Auto Firm in Miami and upgraded the exhaust to one that spits flames. 
My attachment to the Kansas City Royals doesn't come from living in the Midwest or because their colors are similar to the Dodgers or because I want the Giants to lose when the World Series starts. It's not even because I remember the Royals' victory in the '85 Series. No, my attachment began in 1976 when the Royals took on the Yankees and were demoralized by Chris Chambliss' home run off of Mark Littell.
  • Via Scott Andes at Lasorda Lair, "Schebler, Sweeney Heating Up, Seager Off to Slow Start in Arizona Fall League."
  • The Awards for Clayton Kershaw are only beginning to start.  Via Bill Shaikin at Baseball America he was named the PLayer of the Year: "Major League Player Of The Year: Baseball’s Best Pitcher Keeps Looking Ahead."
(cover via @BenBadler on twitter)
  • BTW, for the fourth season in a row Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel and newcomer Yankees reliever Dellin Betances were named the 2014 Goose Gosage Award winners yesterday by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  The Goose Gosage Award recognizes the best reliever in each league. I had picked Kimbrel on my National League ballot.  Furthermore, late last week, White Sox Jose Abreau and NY Met Jacob deGrom were named the Willie Mays Award winners for their respective league.  This award recognizes this past season rookie of the year.  Go here to see who were my picks for the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) Post Season Awards.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 Topps Update Baseball - All the Dodger Base Cards

Featured here are all of the Dodger base cards found in packs of 2014 Topps Update.  This late-season companion set to Topps flagship Baseball card product was release last week and it shows many of the newly acquired Dodgers added at the end of the season.  It also includes All-Star cards and some rookies.  Go here to check out a complete checklist of the set.

Clearly, the best of the bunch is the Justin Turner card.  Check it out directly below.  What a phenomenal photo for arguably the most impactful player on the team.  I have to consider it one of the best Dodger cards of the year.  The Zack Greinke card, on the other hand, might be the goofiest looking card of the year.  Those All-Star caps look hideous.

BTW, there are a bunch of short-printed Dodger cards available; including sparkle and photo variations.  I'll have pics of all of them to share tomorrow.

#US-67 Scott Van Slyke                          #US-68 Justin Turner

Blog Kiosk: 10/20/2014 - Dodger Links - The Ethier's Inducted into Collegiate Hall of Fame


This past Friday the ASU Sun Devils inducted six new members to their Athletics Hall of Fame and it included both Andre and Maggie Ethier.  Check out the photo above of the group being honored during the schools game against Stanford on Saturday, via @TheSunDevils on twitter.

As you may know, Andre was a two-time All-PAC 10 player at ASU.  He finished up his collegiate career hitting .371 with 113 runs, 27 doubles, seven triples, 14 home runs, and 118 RBIs.  Maggie Ethier (wife of Andre) was an accomplished gymnast at ASU.  Per an ASU press release:
Maggie (Germaine) Ethier was one of the most successful gymnasts in ASU history.  She achieved All-American status in 2001 on the vault and again in 2003 for floor exercise.  She also received first-team All-Pac-10 Conference accolades on the floor and in the all-around in 2003.  She scored nine perfect 10.0s in her career, the most in Arizona State history—including two on the vault, one on the beam, and six on the floor.  In 2004 alone, she recorded five perfect scores.  In 2003, Ethier posted the second-highest all-around score in ASU history, a 39.775 versus UCLA.  She was also a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic honoree.  Overall, Ethier posted seven of the top-18 all-time all-around scores in Sun Devil history. 
They are the first husband and wife team ever inducted into the Sun Devils Hall of Fame.

Below are some links to check out:
  • As you know, the big news of the weekend was the official press conference and introduction of new Dodger executive Andrew Friedman.  Also, as you might expect, there wasn't much substance to it.  He supposedly said some controversial things, but did he really?  Did he say anything worthy of deep discussion?  I don't think so.
Friedman said that Don Mattingly is his guy behind the bench for 2015, and guess what?  There's nothing earth-shattering about that announcement.  Management (Kasten and the boys) have given Donnie their approval and no amount of screaming from the gallery changes that position.  For better or worse he is our manager, and believe it or not Donnie was better behind the bench than most fans give him credit for. 

Do I think Joe Maddon will come to the Dodgers?  No, I do not.  Not that I don't like the guy.  I think he'd make a fine manager in Blue.  I just don't believe Friedman would actively lobby for him; thereby destroying his relationships in Tampa Bay and breaking league rules for tampering.

The Dodgers will focus on the farm system and Friedman is an ideal candidate to head that process.  This part of the grand Dodger plan is nothing new.  Stan Kasten has spoken frequently about this phase of the Dodgers rebuild, so anybody who is surprised that the Dodgers will effectively cease being a free agent buyer hasn't been paying attention.  Also, anyone who thinks we should trade our young farmhands for aging veterans isn't paying attention either. 

We are about to embark on a new Dodger era, and I am excited to see what happens.  I am excited to see how our prospects do, and I look forward to see how they transition the old with the new.  These next few months and years are going to be fascinating.
Byrnes is viewed as a strong possibility to get the coveted job, as sources familiar with the situation say his experience is viewed as a plus for a storied, big-market team with heavy media coverage and add that his philosophy aligns with that of Friedman. The pair are also said to be fairly close, though a prior relationship had been less than obvious.



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